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NHL won't be exempt from provincial health orders, say B.C. officials

Last Updated May 27, 2020 at 1:34 am PDT

FILE - Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) stops a shot on the goal as New York Rangers' Chris Kreider (20) watches during the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Vancouver has been put on the shortlist for a potential NHL hub city

B.C. top doctor says she will not bend any rules for hockey players

B.C. Premier has also been in discussions with other premiers

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — B.C.’s premier and top doctor say rules will not be bent if the NHL resumes play in Vancouver.

Vancouver has been put on the shortlist for a potential NHL hub city when and if the league returns in the summer, however, the current post-travel rules could prevent the market from winning that bid.

RELATED: Vancouver shortlisted for one of two NHL hub cities

During Tuesday’s provincial health update, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said COVID-19 rules will not be relived for the games.

“We have been very clear, and the premier has been very clear that we’re not bending the rules in any way that would put what we have achieved here in B.C. at risk,” she says.

While Henry says she loves hockey, she says it’s not enough to give anyone coming here from other countries’ special treatment.

Professional sports haven’t been deemed an essential service, which also affects any cross border travel.

Henry adds she has yet to see a plan from the league as to how it would operate in any of the suggested hubs.

No exact date was announced for the resumption of play, but the first phase of four could see players return to their team cities and start voluntary small-group training by mid-June.

Premier optimistic for pandemic playoff 

Premier John Horgan also quipped that it took a pandemic for the Canucks to make the playoffs.

“I’m just happy that Canucks made the playoffs, it took a pandemic for that to happen. But that’s good news,” he said.

While Horgan remains optimistic, he says he knows so much can change on a daily basis.

“It’s early days now. I understand they’re looking at training camps on July 1 in COVID years … we’ve been going day to day as a community here in British Columbia and indeed across Canada. I think Canadians are going to be happy they see the NHL come back, but we want to make sure we do it in the interest of the players, and the communities that they operate in,” he says.

Horgan adds he is determined to support the Canucks “in whatever endeavour they go forward in.”

“But we want to make sure that the rules are the same for everybody. That’s a Canadian tenant and I think all provinces will agree with that,” he says.

Horgan has spoken to other premiers to discuss the details if declared a hub city.

Besides Vancouver, hub city candidates include Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Pittsburgh and Toronto.

– With files from Mike Hall